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Android doesn't look like it's any closer to solving its biggest problem

If you own a device that’s more than two year old, then the likelihood of it getting an update is looking slim.

Sometimes your best chance of getting the latest version of Android is to buy a brand new phone like the Galaxy S7 (pictured).
Sometimes your best chance of getting the latest version of Android is to buy a brand new phone like the Galaxy S7 (pictured).
Image: AP Photo/Richard Drew

COMPARED TO ITS iOS counterpart, Android updates tend to roll out slowly, if at all, to devices.

The latest stats from the platform’s developer page shows how the latest version of Android, Marshmallow (6.0), is only on 7.5% of devices worldwide.

The previous version Lollipop, accounts for 16.2% for version 5.0 and 19.4% for version 5.1.

Yet the most popular version is one older than that. KitKat, which was released back in 2013, is currently running on 32.5% of all devices.

Android versions may 2016 Source: Android Developers

The number of devices running the latest version of Android is lower than this time last year, where Lollipop accounted for 9.7% of devices in May 2015. While older versions like Jelly Bean are shrinking in size, there’s still a long way to go before the latest version becomes the norm rather than the exception.

The problem is a familiar one for Android. Fragmentation is still a major issue for the platform with tens of thousands of devices running different versions of Android.

While Google’s own Nexus range get updates almost immediately as they follow the stock Android template, devices from other companies like Samsung, Sony, and Huawei take longer to see updates. 

At the moment, only recently released devices like the Galaxy S7, HTC 10 and Huawei P9 in Spring include the latest version as standard. After that, it’s anyone’s guess which smartphones will get an update as it’s down to the companies making the phones. There are few guarantees that a smartphone released two years ago will still be updated.

Not receiving updates doesn’t just mean not receiving new features like the battery-saving Doze mode or Now on Tap, it can also mean important security updates won’t make their way over either, leaving devices vulnerable to problems further down the line.

Read: Miss texting with one hand? There are ways to go back to it >

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About the author:

Quinton O'Reilly

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